Culture, Asia - Pacific

Books on Ottoman Empire gaining popularity in Bangladesh

Turkish TV series, charisma of President Erdogan has piqued interest of readers, say booksellers

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 27.01.2022
Books on Ottoman Empire gaining popularity in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Books on the Ottoman Empire are flying off the shelves in Bangladesh amid growing interest in Islamic history and culture of the golden era, say both booksellers and publishers.

In its heyday, the Ottoman Empire spread from Budapest in the north to Mecca in the south, and Baghdad in the west to Algiers in the east.

On the Foundation Day of the Ottoman Empire marked on Jan. 27, booksellers in the capital Dhaka shared the bestselling titles.

One of the most popular books is The Ottoman Empire written by Ali Muhammad Sallabi, they said.

A translated copy of the book was first published in 2019 and within a span of two years, the 7th edition is being circulated in bookstores across Bangladesh.

"This is a large volume and we normally don't publish such books unless there is a serious demand due to the financial risks involved. But our experience with this title has been very good," Md. Abdullah Khan, founder and director of Muhammad Publications, told Anadolu Agency.

Some other bestselling books are Muhammad Al-Fatih by Sallabi, Unknown Chapter of Ottoman Empire by Mustafa Armagan, ​​​​​​​Sultan Abdul Hamid by Sallabi, Sanjak-e Usman by Prince Mohammad Sajal, and Sultan Suleiman by Kazi Abul Kalam Siddik.

Besides many other books on Turkiye are popular, such as Erdogan: The Change Maker by Hafizur Rahman, Dawwam by former Turkish Prime Minister Najmuddin Erbakan, From Ataturk to Erdogan: 100 Years of Changing Turkiye by Mostafa Faisal Parvez, and Al-lam’at by Turkish Islamic scholar Said Nursi.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abu Jafor, a professor of Islamic Studies at Islamic University, Bangladesh, said the golden era of the Ottoman Empire inspires Muslims across the world to serve humanity and uphold the true spirit of Islam.

“It is a very positive aspect that a good number of people, especially the youths in Bangladesh, are studying the Ottoman history to learn how the religion of Islam was placed before the whole world to establish justice," Jafor said.

Mahdi Hasan, who translated The Ottoman Empire in Bangla, said that reading about the conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmet inspired him to delve deeper into Ottoman history.

“I came to know from a saying of Prophet Muhammad that a blessed person would conquer Constantinople and it prompted me to read up on Mehmet. I felt I had the responsibility to share the lessons I had learned to millions of Bangla-speaking people," he said.

Turkish series and Erdogan

The charismatic personality of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has emerged as a strong voice for oppressed Muslims worldwide, has also piqued the interest of many Bangladeshis in learning about the history of Turkiye.

Moreover, Turkish historical fiction series such as Dirilis Ertugrul and Kurulus Osman have also introduced the country to thousands of Bangladeshis.

“It is very interesting that many university students and teachers are buying books related to Ottoman Empire in the last couple of years,” said Belaet Hossain, the owner of a private library and bookstore in Dhaka.

Mushfika Naorin, a student of Dhaka University, said reading about the Ottoman Empire had rejuvenated pride in her Muslim identity.

"After reading about the history of Ottoman Empire and enjoying Dirilis Ertugrul and Kurulus Osman I am now very confident about my identity as a Muslim,” she said.

Drawing inspiration from the Ottoman Empire, another student, Tahmidur Rahman said: “As a Muslim, I have decided not to waste my time anymore and acquire knowledge."

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